Making a schedule that balances a 9-5 job and your dreams is extremely difficult. To tell you a little about myself, I work at a small downtown café from 6am to 2pm, and I go to school full time, plus I work as a copywriting intern. When I first decided to pursue my dreams as a copywriter, I didn’t know how I could handle the balancing act of work, school and an internship. I imagine that it is the same feeling young entrepreneurs have when they first decide to start a business (STRESS), while struggling to keep up with their “actual” job. Through stress, tears, and developing neurosis, I have come up with some ways to deal with stress and time management.
Make a List
I have three lists that I keep on me at all times. I put them in a journal, but iPhones have hundreds of apps for list making including: Paperless, Lists To Do, and Wunderlist. For my first list, I have an immediate weekly checklist, and the only thing that goes on here is tasks from my internship and assignments due for school. The second list is called, “Long term ways to revamp your life,” and on there I write long term tasks that I need to accomplish like grad school applications and finding a place to live after school ends. Then, there is the third list which is devoted solely to my, “hopes and dreams.” Here I write stuff like: become a world famous writer, and own my own publishing company. Each time I accomplish something, I cross it off the list, which is truly satisfying.
I have two calendars (now do you see where the neurosis starts to set in?). One is for planning and the other is for looking clean and organized. I have found that when I am deciding my schedule for the week, my calendar gets messy, cramped and cluttered—so much so that I go to look at it again, and I cant understand anything that I wrote. Now that I have the clean and pretty calendar, I feel a lot less stress. (Side note: I find myself de-stress when things look streamlined and clean, but that might not work for you too. Try and find what makes YOU distress).
Make Time for What You Love
This is the most important thing. When I first started college, I totally toned out my friends. I became almost obsessive about school and achieving my dreams. However, I know now that there needs to be time for fun. In writing, we call this creating “white space” in your head. It makes room for inspiration, ideas, and new material. Find the time to create your own, “white space,” whether it be running in the park, playing with your dog, going out dancing, or spending time with your family.
Stress and time management can often discourage you from following your dreams. The other important thing that I have learned from doing all of these things at once is that my life feels much richer. I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to have an internship, go to school and have a job–things a lot of people don’t have. I think that some stress is beneficial in reminding you to appreciate that you CAN be that busy, that you have a job, and that you are doing a lot better than most people can even dream.
Read some of Tasha’s articles about stress, and time management.